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What’s the Difference Between a Master’s Degree and an MBA? 

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You’re standing at a critical crossroads in your career and you’re deciding on what your next big move should be. You might have just graduated from a bachelor’s degree or maybe you’ve been at a company for a few years but are now looking to take your knowledge and expertise to the next level.  

There are two paths that can be taken to give you that unique selling proposition (USP) and boost your personal valuation: an MBA, which looks at fundamental business knowledge and sharpens your leadership skills, or a master’s degree, which focuses more comprehensively on a particular discipline.

Before taking the big jump into either degree, you might want to do some research to find out which is the best fit for you. The question is how to go about arming yourself with the right skillset in order to be a lucrative solutions-provider for any company.   

The Need for Specialists  

Generalists might be good around the house, but specialists are prized outside, in the business world. New careers and the demand for specializations are emerging at a rapid pace in response to technological advances. All businesses, including the world’s most successful companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook, need people with specialist knowledge to fulfill new roles as they adapt to shifts in the market based on current trends. In fact, it is because of their ability to adapt that these businesses remain so successful, and to do this they need experts in the latest trends.  

Rufus Franck, founder of Consultants 500, says that “The effect of specialization is such a broad concept that it touches upon almost everything in our daily life, and our natural urge for specialization is also one of the main reasons why professional services exist. Society and businesses cannot know everything and therefore need specialists with practical experience to help and guide us.” 

MBA: A Building Block 

MBA programs focus primarily on business and provide you with the skills to improve your managerial competencies. In many cases, candidates need not have a bachelor’s degree in business to enroll; and since the globalized world’s lingua franca is business, they can also be from different corners of the globe. In fact, many business institutes welcome multilingual and multicultural candidates from non-traditional backgrounds. This is said to enrich classroom discussions and set the tone for dynamic and innovative thinking applied to common business problems.  

MBAs also utilize case-studies based on real problems faced in the business world. EU Business School even goes further with their MBAs by drawing upon experiential learning, a method that not only focuses on case studies but uses classroom theory and hands-on experience and a way of learning facilitated by experienced and highly successful lecturers. This proven education model draws on both American business curricula and European learning methodologies.  

In most cases, MBAs also require at least two years of professional experience as part of their admission requirements. This is because MBAs enable candidates to build on, strengthen and expand key business skills acquired during their careers. Moreover, MBAs at EU Business School give students the opportunity not only to master foundational topics in business but also select an area of interest in which to specialize.  

Co-founder and CEO of MBJ LONDON and EU Business School alumnus, Julian Baladurage, emphasizes this point quite well, that having specialized knowledge in a particular field puts you ahead of the competition. “Understanding big buzzwords like artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, wide data is important,” he says, “because there’s a lot of people out there who know everything quite broadly, but I think there are people right now who are needed who are quite niche, who understand one thing very well.” 

Master’s: A Core Focus 

A master’s from an internationally recognized, professionally accredited business school such as EU Business School will also give you the edge in today’s job market, by demonstrating that you have acquired an industry-specific skillset.  

Take, for example, the business of fashion and luxury, which can be hard to get into without the specialized knowledge that a master’s in the topic can provide you with. Christopher Moore, Director of the British School of Fashion, highlights the importance of having a postgraduate degree in the fashion industry, stating that “The market has become so competitive that very often the very best fashion companies can take their pick, so they will go for the graduates who are the most rounded and the most educated.” If you can demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of high-end brands and customer attraction and retention, companies will take your credentials more seriously. 

Both degrees are highly valuable and the demand for graduates who possess either of them continues to grow. By studying an MBA or master’s, you are exposed to, and learn about, the latest trends and other niche areas in business. Applying this knowledge will help with both personal and company development and, despite both degrees offering a very different pathway, it’s reaching your career goals that count. 

At EU Business School, we understand how important it is to know the market and gauge which disciplines are in demand. Our master’s programs include Digital Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Fashion and Luxury Business, while our MBA program offers a choice of eleven majors, including Blockchain, Global Banking and Finance, and Sports Management. 

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